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5 Fun Facts about Lisbon

Monday, November 15th, 2010

For many years Lisbon was an enigma to people all around the world. The cradle of the globe-spanning Portuguese empire became a haven of axis and allied spies during the Second World War and then represented part of an outpost of dictatorship in free Western Europe. When the revolution came it seemed to be Spain which seized the initiative and attracted the tourists. Yet while the discerning always had a special affection for Lisbon, its charms are now becoming much wider known.

lisbon: fun facts

The area today covered by the city of Lisbon was first settled by the peripatetic Phoenicians who arrived by boat on trading missions from the Eastern Mediterranean centuries before the era of Christ. They called their settlement Alis Ubbo which translates as ‘beautiful shore’, a name as fitting today as it was all that time ago.

The city of Lisbon is, like several other cities around the world, built on seven neighbouring hills. Other cities to share this feature include Rome, Moscow, Mecca and Jerusalem. Although this is today seen as little more than a quirk of a city’s development, in former times it was seen as a powerful omen and in the past this has been credited with being a reason for the emergence of the Portuguese empire.

A powerful and deadly earthquake struck Lisbon in the year 1775. Whole swathes of the city were destroyed, including many ancient and beautiful buildings which were lost forever. The only area to escape relatively unscathed was the Alfama, which is consequently the city’s oldest district. There has been discussion in recent years about defending the city against another freak quake which could be just as destructive and even more deadly.

The statue of Christ facing Lisbon across the Tagus is called Cristo Rei. A common misconception is that the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro is a scaled up version of this, however it is the other way around. The Portuguese dictator Salazar decided that he liked the Christ the Redeemer statue and that Lisbon should have its own, miniature version.

In the centre of Lisbon is the Santa Justa elevator. The elevator was designed by an apprentice of one Gustav Eiffel and the architectural descendants of his tower can be seen in the design. However, unlike the Eiffel Tower in Paris, for which a practical purpose was found only after it was built, the elevator was built, and is still used for, the express purpose of making the trip from the lower level of the city to the higher one easier. Generations of tired pensioners and others have given thanks for the idea.

Hotel Deals in Lisbon

Hotel Turim Iberia room, LisbonHotel Turim Iberia, Lisbon
The luxury 4 star Turim Iberia hotel is situated in one of  Lisbon’s most prestigious areas, close to Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and Campo Pequeno.

Hotel Quinta da Marinha Resort room, CascaisHotel Quinta da Marinha Resort, Cascais

Hotel Quinta  da Marinha Resort is a 5 star Hotel located in Cascais, Portugal.

Check out more Hotel Deals in Lisbon!

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer will joce

Will Joce is a recent graduate from the London School of Economics who has a morbid fear of working in an office. As well as travelling and writing he has worked in the UK Parliament and as a press monitor. Refusing to follow advice and get a real job he will soon be beginning a Masters degree at St Petersburg State University

4 responses to “5 Fun Facts about Lisbon”

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  1. Kim Higgins says via Facebook:
    November 17th, 2010 at 09:08

    I love Lisboa!

  2. hugo says:
    February 12th, 2012 at 15:23

    Just to say the earthquake was in 1755

  3. Sousa1997 says:
    March 2nd, 2012 at 01:09

    Ok, This is a good aswer to if someone were asking for facts about historical landmarks. This is not very interesting or informative.
    Maybe this should go to another question. But if i were interested in this, it would be a good responce. So thanks! :-)

  4. qwdc says:
    September 25th, 2014 at 19:24

    I’m sorry but actually you just throwing away common myths about Lisbon too.

    Most of that is wrong or a product of imagination.

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